Four Mile Crib Light

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Four Mile Crib Light in 2010 – 53rd trip
Four Mile Crib Light in 2010 – 53rd trip

Chicago, Illinois

Built: 1891

Water cribs are offshore structures that collect water from close to the bottom of a lake to supply a pumping station onshore. Today, 4 cribs provide water to Chicago and its suburbs. The tunnels leading from the cribs are close to 200 feet beneath the lake and vary in shape from cylindrical to ovular and in diameter from 10 to 20 feet. Lake water enters the cribs and flows through these tunnels to pumps at water purification plants. Until the 1990s, "Crib Tenders", much like lighthouse keepers, lived on the cribs. After 9/11, the Chicago cribs were designated a "security zone" and complete security systems were installed, including video, motion detectors, microwave link, and door sensors, all with direct links to Chicago Police monitoring stations. Any craft that enters the buoyed security zone is subject to boarding, ticketing and impounding.

The Four Mile Crib is so named because it is located 4 miles offshore. The light shines from a 30 foot hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. It has a focal plane of 66 feet and the white light flashes every 15 seconds.

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Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter

Copyright © 1995-2011 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.

This article was last modified on 9/18/2010.

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